“BYO Beef” Cookout Fires Up Football Team Spirit

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“BYO Beef” Cookout Fires Up Football Team Spirit
Chuck Hayworth

A personal chef — and dad to Chuck ’24, Scott ’26 and Caraline ’27 — shares how an inpromptu team dinner reflects the strong sense of community they enjoy through the football program.

This year, my son Chuck ’24 decided to join the football team as a junior. His teammates are good friends of his during the school day and now on the field as well.

After he and his brother Scott ’26, who plays for the JV team, completed their first-ever summer football practices, I chose to surprise them with a steak dinner a la dad. Both boys know I cook for a living as a personal chef, so this was a huge deal. They both took to the team chat and posted photos of their dinner. 

Little did I know that the team response would be, “Cook-out at Chuck’s place tomorrow!” I could not refuse. My only stipulation was BYOB — bring your own beef!

Since he’s new to the team, I could never have expected the huge response this invitation got. In preparation for the boys’ arrival, my wife, Aileen, and I whipped up four huge pans of mac and cheese and green beans sides. We were still uncertain how many teammates would show up given we live such a far distance from the school, but we wanted the best for Chuck and his new teammates that did choose to attend. So I fired up my firepit in the back yard, chopped some fresh oak and waited in anticipation of the arrival of his new teammates.

Over the course of the evening, all of his teammates showed up to the fire pit, steaks in hand. A few brought extra just in case someone forgot. Tenderloins, New York strips, ribeye steak and even tri-tip. I have never had such an enjoyable experience since digging that firepit with my own hands. Each teammate filmed or took pictures to mark the event — and the experience got even better for us at the end, when each of Chuck’s teammates shook my hand, hugged Aileen and said thank-you. They are already organizing a shrimp boil for me.

Clockwise from top left: Hayworth puts steaks on his firepit during the football team cookout; a social media post about the dinner from one of the Hayworths guests; members of the team (including Chuck, holding the trophy) after winning the Friday Night Rivalry.

My joy in my over two-decade-long career in food has always been watching people enjoy my food, but this evening was more than that. This is the spirit of the character tree that our kids have learned about since a very young age. 

What a joy to have spent a moment of my life that I won’t forget. I later found out it was one of the first whole-team gatherings off-campus since before Covid. That was very comforting to me as a parent to hear. The team now has a home away from the field, and I can’t wait till the next gathering! 

The group picture was taken after winning the Friday Night Rivalry Trophy, which will forever commemorate this occasion of the boys winning in my hometown. They said, “This one was for you, Chuck, and your dad….. only one more [game], then we get your dad to cook filet for us!”

The entire team is excited to play Charlotte Latin at Homecoming, not only for steak but for the bond that they have formed this season. Who knew an evening of cooking on a campfire would create such a drive in these guys? Let’s keep it going this week for Homecoming!